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I bought the Match version of the polo fox about 3 months ago off EBAY. Not something I would normally do but for £400 it was worth the risk.
The Polo of this vintage (1994) is getting on a bit but with only 52500 miles its still breaking in. Reliability wise its a great car, but then most VW's are. Nothing seems to ever break on it that will actually stop you driving. If you need to fix anything its easy as the car is very simply put together thus easy to take apart.
My most expensive part was a rotor arm for the price of £3.84.
A must for me on a car like this is to go straight to your garage and replace the sparkplugs, air filter, change the oil and fit a new rotor arm. You can do this for less than £50 but will see the gains when driving it.
The car design is now getting a little dated but it still scrubs up well and keeps up with the more modern traffic. Because of its age it is a very light car. This combined with the 1050cc engine makes for very cheap motoring. I can squeeze 400 odd miles to the small tank.
Whilst the car is small and old it has enough room in it to make a semi medium journey comfortable. I recently did a 220 mile round trip in it without any pains. Having said that, it is rather slow when you consider it only has 4 gears. You can get up to 70 mph with out much bother on a hill but the engine starts to shout back at you.
Bodywork wise you have to be careful buying one of these. They seem to range from minor rust to totally rotten. Body parts are easy to repair on these due to their simplicity and lack of stupid rub strips etc. If you see major rust around the rear arches then I would walk away. If there is a similar problem on the front wings then its not so bad as they can be easily sourced and replaced. However, remember painting always adds the costs upwards. Also check around the badges on the boot lids. The badge is fixed via a plastic mount which is not sealed to the boot lid. This is a good area for rust and if it is bad then you need to spend a bit of time sorting it and making it look good.
Having said that, I would not want to have a serious crash in one of these. There isn't much to these cars and there are certainly no safety features to write home about.
Tyres and other such bits will also cost next to nothing. The one common thing I have seen with these is the state of the petrol tank. The filler neck joins the tank on the underside of the car with the filler running up the inside of the rear wheel arch. This is a stupid design from the start. Why on earth would you run the main fuel filer no the inside of a mudguard….. So if you are looking for one then check this. Look under the car on the drivers side and check the join between the pipe and the tank, if it looks rusty then be prepared. If you shop around you'll get a tank from the net for £80 dependant upon the model. Your looking at about the same to fit it in a garage.
The interior of the car is pretty basic. Dash and switches are well laid out but not of the best quality. You have to remember that this car was about £6500 new, compared to today that's a cheap car so you can't expect much. Still, comfy seats and a good driving position make it seem a lot better.
It would always be worth checking out the electrics if you are looking at a Polo of this age. As build quality is not exactly good wiring is prone to were and age related problems. I would start up the engine, turn on al of the electrics and see what happens. Make sure everything is working. Other things to check would be the rear window heater, wipers work on all modes and that there are no problems with headlights. The last thing you would want to do is have the wiring go wrong on this car, it will cost you as much as the car to fix.
Little breaks and faulty parts are easy to source cheap. Its always worth a try at the scrap yard as there are plenty about. Don't be fooled when you are told that the VW dealer is expensive. Its always worth checking there as I found that for some things they were considerably cheaper then halfords and VW at least sold you a genuine part.
These Polo's are not secure, so do not put a CD player in. You can look at the car and you could break in to it.
Paint work seems to vary depending on who has owned it and what they did to it. If you can find one that is not a single colour like mine then the chances are it will be in a good condition, i.e. a Metallic one. Otherwise a good bit of TCut should sort out most rough areas.
Otherwise a good all round car. Drives well and corners better. Perfect for getting you from A to B at no cost.
Sadly my little EBAY star has now gone to the scrap yard in the sky. The rear shock was looking a little suspect along with the wipers only working on full pelt plus the headlights would not work on full beam. After replacing the petrol tank I decided it was no longer economical to fix it.
An interesting and well written review. I have a P Reg Polo, my first car. I've had her just over a year now and would be lost without her. She's only a 1L, but can still shift if you know how to drive her. Ciao for now - J
Nar 31.10.2005 02:28
I also forgot to add that the last version of this car with the square headlights and big clusters (Mk3/Mk4?) were also the models that finally got Servo assisted brakes - the cars before that didnt have that and took a hefty boot to stop!
Soundsexciting 30.10.2005 22:28
another great review with a number of very useful pointers.